Middle school ‘tech junkie’ receives statewide honor


Bob Sexton isn’t the only Seymour educator getting attention these days for using and teaching technology in the classroom.

Seymour Middle School teacher Curt Schleibaum has been named Indiana Connected Educator’s Teacher of the Year for integrating technology into curriculum and having a positive impact on students.

He was nominated by his peers in education from around the state and local teachers, including Shawn Mahoney and Ryan Culbreth.

“Receiving this award has been an awesome honor,” Schleibaum said. “I have looked up to and followed past recipients. Being one myself now ensures me that the work I have been doing is the right path to be on.”

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A self-proclaimed “tech junkie,” Schleibaum said he tries to find ways to reach all students and help support his fellow teachers in the classroom.

Schleibaum, a Seymour High School graduate, is in his 11th year of teaching, with 10 of those years being with Seymour Community School Corp.

Growing up, he struggled in school because he suffered from dyslexia, but he had many teachers that made a big impact on his life.

“That impact pushed me to want to become a teacher to help give back and help students find ways to learn, become inspired and to grow up and find happiness,” he said.

Schleibaum is doing just that through unique projects and experiments, including launching a weather balloon last school year with his Project Lead the Way students and through the Indiana migratory student summer education program.

The experiment sent the balloon close to 111,000 feet above the ground and sent back images of the Earth and data that the students later analyzed.

Schleibaum said it’s a daily struggle for teachers to make learning the material they teach fun for students.

“Students have access to so much entertainment and other exciting activities that teachers have to work hard to compete,” he said.

But he doesn’t mind working hard to get his students to enjoy education and want more.

“I like to try to gamify class and find ways to give students choices in assignments to help build student ownership to increase learning,” he said.

Using technology to reach students and adults is the only way to prepare students for their future and to become responsible “digital citizens,” he said.

Besides educating others, Schleibaum said, he never stops educating himself.

He follows and communicates with teachers from all over the state to learn and grow professionally, using Twitter and other social media services.

Schleibaum also has become a Google certified trainer for the Seymour school system and has helped build a statewide professional growth network called Edtech Heroes.

“But none of these accomplishments measure up to the magnitude of accomplishment of a former student who stops you and says, ‘Hey, you made a difference in my life,’” he said.

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